Support You Need During Pregnancy and How to Get It
You’ll see a doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy for prenatal visits. But in addition to medical support, it's important to have social support.
Pregnancy is filled with surging hormones, a changing body, and life changes too. There’s plenty of room for worries, anxieties, and fears. And the risk of mental health concerns increases.
“Further, birthing people with more social support have shown better health and pregnancy outcomes than those with less social support,” says Abigail Lynch, therapist and owner of Limitless Counseling Center in Illinois.
Social support can come from a trusted family member or friend, people in a pregnancy community or support group, or a therapist. The stronger your support network, the more people you’ll have to rely on when things get tough.
Ready to build a pregnancy support network? Here are some expert-backed ways to do it.
Reach Out to People You Trust
Think about the people in your life you trust. Who can you go to for advice, to share some laughs, or to cheer you up?
“Be honest about who is in your life who is not judgmental, can advocate for you, and can encourage you,” says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., a clinical perinatal psychologist in Los Angeles and author of Postpartum Depression For Dummies. “It should be someone who keeps their opinions to themselves unless you request them.” Maybe it’s someone you know will listen to you vent, or who has offered to help you.
Identify at least one or two people and make plans to get together or talk on the phone.
Find Others Who Are Pregnant
“It’s helpful to experience a sense of comradery as you go through pregnancy and postpartum,” says Lynch. Different stages of pregnancy can feel intense, and it can be natural to isolate as a result, she says. But being alone can increase feelings of loneliness and low mood.
Talking to other people who are pregnant can help you feel less alone in your challenges. If you don’t know anyone else who’s pregnant, ask your provider to recommend a pregnancy support group, Lynch suggests. Often there are groups offered by local hospitals and birthing centers.
You can also ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers if they have any pregnant friends they could introduce you to. And you can connect with others here in the Twill Care for Pregnancy community.
Check In Regularly
With busy schedules and things on your mind, it’s easy to forget to check in with your support people. Lynch suggests setting a routine where you’re meeting or talking to a friend or family member at least once a week. You can make a standing date for coffee or a phone chat, for example.
Regular check-ins can ensure that you have support in place when you need it. If you have a rough day or are feeling extra stressed, you’ll have someone to chat with about your concerns.
Keep Connecting After the Baby Arrives
Loneliness and low mood are common in new parents too. And social connection can help.
You can connect with the same support people after you have the baby. You can also make new friends too.
“Where I am located, in the Chicagoland suburbs, each suburb has a parents Facebook group and I regularly see new parents reach out asking if anyone would like to get together for a playdate, walks, or even just to talk over coffee,” says Lynch. Many areas have new parent support groups too.
Use Resources Available to You
Any time you could use someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to reach out. There are organizations that can help you find support.
Postpartum Support International has online support groups and local volunteers trained to provide support during pregnancy and postpartum. It also has a directory of mental health professionals who specialize in perinatal mental health.
Your community may have mental health organizations for pregnant people and parents. Ask your doctor or midwife for resources near you.
“Most important is to find a sense of community, a place where you feel safe, seen, and supported,” says Sharon Berg, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in Playa del Rey, California. “The primary focus is where an individual feels comfortable or a place that they perceive as supportive.”
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